Pa. Judicial Conduct Board files formal charges against Lancaster magisterial district judge on suspension for past year

By Jon Campisi | Feb 28, 2013

The Lancaster County area magisterial district judge who was suspended with pay exactly

one year ago after being charged by the state Attorney General’s Office with illegally fixing her own traffic tickets now faces formal charges by the state’s Judicial Conduct Board.

The JCB on Feb. 22 filed the charges against Kelly S. Ballentine, who had been criminally charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor after authorities said she used a judicial computer system to scrap motor vehicle citations that had been issued to her by Lancaster City police officers in the winter of 2010.

The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline had suspended Ballentine from the bench after the JCB made a request for such action.

She has been receiving her judicial pay during this past year of suspension.

Last week, the JCB charged Ballentine with violating the Rules Governing Standards of Conduct of Magisterial District Judges and Article V of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In her criminal case, Ballentine, who began her time on the bench in early 2006, was charged with multiple counts each of conflict of interest, tampering with public records or information, and obstructing the administration of law or other governmental function.

The record shows that on Feb. 1 of this year, Ballentine pleaded guilty to three counts of an amended charge of tampering with public records or information, with the commonwealth agreeing to dismiss the remaining charges.

In its formal charges, the JCB asserts that Ballentine violated Rule 2A of the Rules Governing Standards of Conduct of Magisterial District Judges, which provides that the judges respect and comply with the law and conduct themselves in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, as well as Rule 13A, which provides that judges and their employees shall not engage in any activity or act incompatible with the expeditious, proper and impartial discharge of their duties.

Finally, Ballentine is charged with violating Article V of the state constitution by engaging in conduct that brings the judicial office into disrepute.

The JCB’s filing was signed by Chief Counsel Robert A. Graci.

A copy of the Pennsylvania State Police’s criminal complaint against Ballentine was attached as an exhibit to the JCB’s document.

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